Kim Zolciak-Biermann, 39, Reveals She Is Still Coping with Lingering Effects of 2015 Stroke
Kim Zolciak-Biermann wants her fans to know that every minute counts when it comes to surviving a stroke.
The mother of six, who suffered a stroke in September 2015 that ended her run on Dancing With The Stars, shared a message about stroke identification on Instagram Sunday.
Zolciak-Biermann, 39, said that her daughter Brielle shared the helpful tips with her and she wanted to post for her 2.5 million followers.
“As you know I had a stroke in Sept 2015 and when Brielle called Kroy to tell him something wasn’t ‘right’ with me I remember him yelling, ‘Brielle get her in the car NOW and take her to the hospital fast every minute count!’ It’s TRUE!” she captioned the image.
She continued, “And Im so thankful for everyone’s quick thinking. I’ve never seen doctors/nurses move as fast as they did the second I was wheeled in. I’m so thankful for my medical team.”
The reality star shared that despite lingering symptoms of the stroke, such as the occasional slip of her tongue or forgetting a word, she is “almost fully recovered” and is feeling “great.”
“I had my stroke at 37!! It can happen to anyone at any age!!” she wrote. “When in doubt please always check it out!!”
The message gave instructions on how to identify if a person was having a stroke by asking them to smile, raise both hands or say a simple sentence. If they have trouble with these tasks, it is important to seek medical help.
Zolciak-Biermann was competing on Dancing with the Stars when she flew home after a grueling practice with partner Tony Dovolani.
“I bent down to hug my son KJ and all of a sudden my left hand went numb,” Zolciak-Biermann told PEOPLE. And the sensation got worse.
“It was like a million ants were crawling over my body,” she said
Soon she was unable to feel her face or tongue.
“I’m always joking around with my kids,” said the Don’t Be Tardy star. “I do these Jim Carrey impersonations with my face and my daughter Brielle thought I was doing that! She said, ‘Mom, cut it out, you’re not funny.’ ”
Using all her strength to grab her daughters arm, the reality star made it clear she wasn’t kidding this time. Zolciak-Biermann didn’t know it at the time, but she was having a stroke.
“I kept telling myself, ‘You’re fine, you’re fine. It’s going to be over in a minute, just hold on,’ ” she recalled.
RELATED VIDEO: Kim Zolciak-Biermann Withdraws from ‘Dancing with the Stars’ after Suffering a Mini Stroke
The Real Housewives of Atlanta veteran was hospitalized for a mini-stroke and then underwent heart surgery after doctors discovered an existing genetic condition that required treatment.
“I have a blood clot, they don’t know if it came from my leg or my pelvis,” Zolciak-Biermann told E! “Most people have a filter so it can’t cross over to the other side of your heart, but because I do have a valve – they call it a hole, but it’s more like a valve that never closed when I was born – the blood clot was able to transfer and go through the hole, which stopped oxygen to my brain on the right side of my brain.”
In a way, the wife of Atlanta Falcons player Kroy Biermann owes her life to her stint on DWTS.
“Had I not been so active with Dancing with the Stars and also flying – that’s probably what in essence caused the blood clot – it really is a blessing in disguise,” she said. “Because now I can really fix it and move on instead of having a true stroke where I never recover, or my doctor said a massive heart attack.”
“I think anything that has to do with your heart and brain is pretty scary, but I mean, heck, I’ve been through it, I’m okay,” Zolciak-Biermann said. “You really don’t realize how precious life is and how something can just – it literally happened in a second and my whole life changed.”